Steven Spielberg returns to the period adventure genre this winter with The Adventures of Tintin, an adaptation of the famous comic book character created by Belgian writer/artist George Prosper Remi (pen name, Hergé).

The Tintin teaser trailer was big on the mysterious atmosphere and revealed little about either the plot of the film or its characters, brought to life via the magic of motion-capture technology. Now there’s a new international Adventures of Tintin trailer that offers more insight into both story and characters (for better or for worse).

Adventures of Tintin, which is internationally titled The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, follows the titular crusading journalist (played by Jamie Bell) and his loyal white terrier, Snowy, as they set out to find the legendary ship known as the Unicorn – before the evil Red Rackham (Daniel Craig) can get his mittens on it.

Joining Tintin and Snowy on their adventure is one Captain Haddock, brought to life by mo-cap expert Andy Serkis. This new international trailer for Spielberg’s film offers a much better look at Serkis’ bearded captain character, which begs the question: Does the mo-cap tech serve The Adventures of Tintin as well as it does the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which also stars Serkis?

Find out by watching the international Adventures of Tintin trailer below:

In terms of story and action, Adventures of Tintin looks to deliver on both counts. Based on this early footage, Spielberg has crafted yet another fun period adventure that boasts plenty of thrilling chases scenes over sea, across the desert, and under the cover of night. That Spielberg recruited great writing talents like Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) to script the plot and dialogue should only help matters.

However, the mo-cap in Tintin comes off as more of a potential hindrance than a necessary move. Its effect on the cinematography of the film is especially noticeable, since it doesn’t allow for the traditional (read: seamless) editing style. As a result, there are times this Adventures of Tintin footage looks more like a video game rather than a film, in terms of how it’s shot.

As is always the case with mo-cap, though, the bigger issue is the expressiveness of the human characters (or lack thereof). While in this case they are actually meant to be more cartoonish and caricature-like in comparison to their surroundings (an imitation of the ligne claire drawing method pioneered by Hergé in his original Tintin comic books), their movement and mannerisms still look noticeably off. It’s an improvement on the animation in this past spring’s Mars Needs Moms, but not enough to avoid being a distraction.

Captain Haddock (Serkis) and Tintin (Bell)

All that said, though, Adventures of Tintin does look like it could be a fun way to spend a couple of hours at the theater during the impending Christmas season. Plus, we’re still several months away from its release, which should allow more time for Spielberg’s technical crew to fine-tune and improve the movement and action of the film’s mo-cap characters.

The Adventures of Tintin arrives in U.S. theaters on December 23rd, 2011.